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How the magic is done - Dancing in the wind

1x Learning gathers some of the finest photos on the Internet and gives the photographer an opportunity to show how the photo was created. One of the top level photographers who participate in 1x Learning is the highly awarded Leyla Emektar. She works as a teacher in Visual Art, a profession that is very evident in her photography. She is known for her spectacular and highly impressive creative edits. In this free tutorial, we will however take a closer look at a photo that is more subtle, but none the less impressive.

NIKON D80, ISO 250, manual mode at 135 mm, Aperture f/5.6, Exposure time 1/125 sec



I love to work with models in my photos. This work illustrates the dance of the model in harmony with the nature. She was dancing in the wind, her dress flying around her. In fact, the wind was a big inspiration for this shot, taken outside near a lake in Turkey. It created for me the necessary dynamism and atmosphere in this shot.

I did not really planned it as such on beforehand. While we were shooting and seeing her dancing, I got the idea for this compositional edit. My own emotion is essential in my photographic work; I must like the scene myself before starting.

For me this photo has a fairy tale effect, through the atmosphere I tried to create in this composition (the woman, the wind, the birds in the sky...). I do hope that the viewers get the same feeling and that they like it.

The finished photo is a combination of three other photos: the model alone, the birds and the sky (all at the same place) I used a NIKON D80 with a 18-135 mm Nikon lens in natural light conditions.


The three shots have been merged in Photoshop. Three new layers were created by selecting the model, the birds and the sky from the original captures. Then I merged them all together in a new layer. Now having the complete composition ; I did use the Burn tool for some additional shadows and darkened areas. I also used a gradient filter to create more saturation in some areas, keeping the original colors in other parts of the work.


– Select the appropriate elements in your image to express the emotions you want to convey through it.

– Have the design of the concept in mind when you when start shooting. 

– Control the light and achieve a perfect processing using appropriate techniques.


Leyla Emektar was born in 1972, in Adana, Turkey. 1993 she graduated the Çukurova University, Department of Painting at the Faculty of Education. By taking photography training at the university, she gained experience on photography and dark room using. Today, she is married and has two children while working as a Visual Arts teacher in Kandıra, Kocaeli. Emektar has been a member of UPI (United Photographers International) since 2011; and received the degree of AFIAP (International Federation of Photographic Art) in 2012. She has won several awards for her inspiring photographic work in the Creative edit genre.

Wonderful image , Leyla. I'm sure your artistic education helps a lot:-) Best, Ben